Do you Believe?

This is one of my favorite holiday stories … Enjoy!
 
I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS 

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her. On the way my big sister dropped the bomb:  "There’s no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"


My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew the truth always went down easier with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true. 

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything.  She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. 
"Where" turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.  I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.
I was just about thought out when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade two class.  Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess in the winter. His mother always wrote a note telling the teacher he had a cough, but Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough. We kids knew that what he didn’t have was a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one with a hood. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma’am," I replied shyly. "It’s for Bobby."
The nice lady smiled at me as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas. That evening, Grandma helped me. (A little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible.) We wrapped the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."  I took a deep breath and dashed for his front door. I dropped the present on his step and pounded his door, then flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering beside my Grandma in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95. 

May you always have 
love to share,
health to spare,
and friends who care . . .
and may you always believe in
the magic of Santa Claus! 
 
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind." – Dr. Seuss

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